Here are some handy tips for a happy and safe Fourth of July.
First and foremost: your pets are better off at home. Whatever you do … DO NOT take them with you to see the fireworks!
1. Leave your pet at home. Fireworks displays can be disorienting and frightening to pets, even those animals that are used to going places with their humans.
2. Create a home sanctuary. Leave your pet in an area of your home where he or she is safe, comfortable and sheltered from any outside noise and lights. An inside room with no windows or doors to access the outside, or at least a back bedroom with some drapes or curtains to pull shut. A place where the pet normally spends time and is comfortable, may be best. Leave the radio or TV turned on to drown out any loud outside noises. Just the sound of human voices will help provide comfort.
2. Pet-proof your home. When scared, some animals can become destructive, so be sure to remove anything that can become damaged or might harm your pet if chewed.
3. Never leave pets outside and unattended. Even in a fenced in yard, panic can lead a pet to escape and get lost, or become injured while trying to seek refuge. It’s happened before. It can happen again. Don’t let it happen to one of your pets.
4. Make sure your pet always wears identification. In the unfortunate event that your pet gets lost, an updated identification tag (a phone number, the magic word “REWARD”) greatly increases your chances of being reunited, even if your pet is already microchipped.
5. If your pet fears loud noises, fireworks won’t fly. In that case, consult your veterinarian before July 4th for tips to lower your pet’s stress level. In addition, consider having someone remain home with your pet while your family enjoys outdoor activities.
6. If you’re going away, plan what to do with your pet. The Humane Society of the United States Web site http://www.humanesociety.org features information on traveling with your pet, choosing a professional sitter, and finding a boarding kennel.
7. Always keep an emergency folder with pet info. Have your local shelters’ phone numbers, as well as a current photo of your pet(s). Make sure the entire family knows where this folder is kept, so all are prepared in case your dog, cat or whatever is ever lost.
No need to overreact … just be prepared. /Gary